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Shore to Ship Drones – Relevance and Applicability of Maritime Navigation Rules

Chuah, J. C. T. ORCID: 0000-0003-0634-1650 & Movaghar, A. (2021). Shore to Ship Drones – Relevance and Applicability of Maritime Navigation Rules. Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce,


The use of shore to ship drones for transporting supplies, medical provisions and documents during the COVID-19 pandemic induced port lockdowns and restrictions in many port States was especially needful. However, these drones fly at altitudes which expose them to the risk of accidents or collision with large ships. The orthodox view of the regulatory framework for drones is that it is the internationally agreed air navigation rules as implemented by the coastal State that would apply. This article argues that it is equally important to consider the provisions of the IMO-sanctioned shipping navigation rules (COLREGs) given the fact that the drones are operating in an environment where ships operate. The work identifies how some of the key COLREGs provisions for collision avoidance might be applied in this regard.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce by Anderson Publishing Co.
Publisher Keywords: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), shore to ship drone delivery, air navigation rules, maritime navigation rules, COLREGs., coastal law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
Text - Accepted Version
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